• Police Free 4 students in Epe, Minna; BUK lecturer, 2 others taken
By Chiemelie Ezeobi, Funmi Ogundare, Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano and Laleye Dipo in Minna
The 11-man gang responsible for the abduction of the vice principal, two students and a teacher of the Igbonla Model College, Epe, were said to have contacted them yesterday to demand for an undisclosed amount as ransom.
However, two of the students were reportedly freed according to an online platform, “Epe Forum Online” set up to monitor and update situations on the incident.
Also, the police in Minna, Niger State have rescued two school girls kidnapped by gun men in Rijau area of the state on Wednesday morning. Serah Danjuma and Martha Daniels were kidnapped from their Government Vocational School at about 3.20am on Wednesday after suspected hoodlums gained entry into the school compound through a broken fence.
This is as a lecturer with Bayero University, Kano Saminu Aliyu Kiri of the Faculty of Computer Sciences with two unidentified persons have been kidnapped on their way from Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) supervision in Shaki, Oyo State.
It was gathered that the kidnappers had contacted the families affected and listed their demands, one of which was to desist confiding in the security operatives.
Using an unknown number to call the affected families, the abductors were said to have assured the concerned families of the safety of their wards if they obey their instructions.
One of the family members who spoke with newsmen said, “ My sister’s phone rang at about 2.50am and a male voice instructed her to leave the place if there was anyone with her.
“The stranger said he was calling in respect of our kidnapped relative. He warned that none of the conversation should be divulged to security agents.
“He threatened that if the instruction was not adhered to, that the families should be held responsible for anything that happens to their abducted relative.
“They also demanded for ransom. But I cannot tell you in order not to jeopardise the safety of our relative. But they demanded within the range of millions of naira.
“My sister pleaded with them to bring down the amount that her husband was at the moment out of job but the stranger did not respond”.
“She also demanded to speak with our relative with them, but she was not granted. She was told that she would be allowed to do so after agreement was reached on the payment.”
Recall that barely 24-hours after the World Teachers Day celebration, some suspected gunmen had struck at the college.
It was gathered that two of the abducted students later escaped from the grip of their captors few minutes after they were picked.
The gunmen had accessed the school by breaking a part of the fence and afterwards fled in three speedboats through the Ogbere River.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who confirmed the report said efforts are ongoing to rescuing the victims as well as track down the suspects.
Also, member of Lagos State House of Assembly, , Hon. Wale Raji representing Epe constituency, has condemned as callous and grossly inhuman, the action of the abductors while calling on the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian Police Force to intensify efforts to ensure their prompt release and the apprehension of the abductors.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule who visited the school assured that government would work assiduously to ensure prompt rescue of the victims, while pleading with parents and families who had come to withdraw their children to cooperate with government and security agencies.
According to her, “Such would not help the situation as panicking would further compound it. It is true that in the last 29 years that this school was established, we have never experience such a thing like this, but now that it has happened and it is confronting us, we must come together to find a lasting solution to it . We, as government, parents, the school and security agencies must remain united to solve this problem.
“I know you are angry, worried and agitated but we must look for solution. But I plead for the understanding of parents in this matter. It is God who secures, it is God who protects and even in other climes where you have everything, you still have this incursion once in a while but what we should be talking about now is how we can collectively solve this problem.”
She further revealed that all security agencies had been mobilised to ensure rescue of the victims while expressing confidence in the success of the ongoing rescue operation.
The two girls kidnapped in Minna were allegedly taken into the “Rijau forests” by their abductors but a distress call made to the anti-kidnapping team of the police in the area “gave the kidnappers a hot chase”.
In a battle that reportedly lasted for about two hours between the police and the kidnappers the gunmen were said to have been overpowered by the superior fire power of the police.
THISDAY learnt that the kidnappers ran deeper into the forest with gunshot wounds abandoning the kidnapped girls in the process.
Police Public Relations Officer DSP Bala Elikana who confirmed the rescue of the girls told us that “our men are still in the forest looking for the kidnappers”.
Elikana said the girls were rescued not too far from their school and a little distance to Kebbi state.
DSP Elikana said the two girls whose ages ranged between 15 and 16 years have returned to the school to continue their academic pursuits.
The police spokesman advised the school authority to ensure the part of the broken fence from where the kidnappers entered the school was repaired while also suggesting that perimeter fencing of all schools in the state should be constructed.
“It will not be out of place if all schools install CCTV cameras to monitor movement into and out of the schools”.
It will be recalled that over 200 school girls kidnapped from their school in Chibok in Borno state more than 2 years ago have not been rescued.